Blu-ray Review Comedy

'Zoolander' Blu-ray Review: Ben Stiller is a model, idiot

February 10, 2016Ben MK

Originally conceived for a 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards skit, the character of Derek Zoolander became something of a movie icon when actor/director Ben Stiller parlayed his male model spoof into a 2001 feature film starring himself, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. Now, in advance of Zoolander's big screen return, Paramount has reissued the film on Blu-ray.

Stiller's follow up to The Cable Guy, Zoolander follows Derek Zoolander (Stiller), a handsome doofus who's just been handpicked by fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu (Ferrell) to be the face of Mugatu's new "Derelicte" clothing line. Little does Derek realize, however, that Mugatu's real intention is to brainwash him into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia, whose stance against child labor poses a major threat to the fashion industry and its manufacturing practices. As a result, Derek and his competition, an up-and-coming male model named Hansel (Wilson), must set aside their differences, teaming up with investigative reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) to stop Mugatu's dastardly plan.

Alas, fashion trends come and go. And considering that it's been a decade and a half since the film was first released in theaters, most of Zoolander still holds up surprisingly well, with much of the fun being derived from the over-the-top zaniness of Stiller, Wilson and Ferrell's delirious performances, which prove just as funny as they did back in 2001. And while each of them would go on to star in some of the most hilarious comedies of the 2000's, it's fair to say that the characters they play in Zoolander remain one of their most memorable and most hands-down entertaining roles.

As for the movie's cameos and smaller roles, some hold up better than others, with the highlights being brief appearances by David Bowie and a young Alexander SkarsgÄrd, as well as Justin Theroux as a breakdancing DJ and David Duchovny as a conspiracy theorist who believes that male models have been responsible for every politically motivated assassination in U.S. history. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there's the inclusion of former celebrities like Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and NSync's Lance Bass, whose appearances probably don't pack the same punch today as they did 15 years ago. Still, Zoolander is definitely worth revisiting, even if it is only as a primer for the sequel.

With nicely saturated primary colors and fairly film-like picture quality, Zoolander's Blu-ray transfer is neither an eye-popping hi-def revelation nor a disaster. It does, however, deliver all the 1080p detail you might expect to see in the actors' faces and in the textures of their clothing, with deep black levels and pleasing contrast to boot. As for the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, there isn't much to complain about on this front either, with the largely dialogue-driven track churning out the film's audio (including its terrific use of '80s pop songs and the occasional burst of applause from fashion show audiences) with crystal-clear fidelity, exactly as one might expect.

Paramount's one-disc Blu-ray release includes the following Blu-ray extras, most of which have been recycled from previous releases of the film:

  • Commentary by Ben Stiller and Writers Drake Sather & John Hamburg - In this commentary track from 2002, Stiller, Sather and Hamburg talk about the movie's opening, the characters' names, the celebrity cameos, the actors' performances, the jokes, the different drafts of the screenplay, their favorite scenes and more.
  • A Really, Really, Really Cool Teaser for Zoolander 2 (0:58) - A smattering of behind-the-scenes footage from the set of the sequel.
  • Breakdance Fight Rehearsal (4:29) - Footage of actors Owen Wilson and Justin Theroux rehearsing the scene.
  • Alternate Brainwashing Sequence Storyboards (4:35) - Storyboards for an alternate version of the scene.
  • Deleted Scenes (7:46) - Five scenes, with optional commentary by Ben Stiller ("Additional VH1 Interviews," "Hansel and Winona," "Moomba," "Additional Mine Montage" and "Zoolander Center ").
  • Extended Scenes (8:00) - Five scenes, with optional commentary by Ben Stiller ("Opening Interview," "Earth To," "Matilda and Archie," "Alternate Brainwash" and "Walkoff Elvis/Fosse").
  • Outtakes (6:34) - Goofs and silliness from the set.
  • VH1 Fashion Awards Skits (6:42) - Skits from the 1996 and 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards, which both feature Stiller's original rendition of the Zoolander character.
  • Music Video: "Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys (2:48)
  • PSAs (Public Service Announcements) (2:01) - Six PSAs ("Zoolander on Racism," "Zoolander on Dating," "Zoolander on Globalization," "Zoolander on World Hunger," "Zoolander on Literacy" and "Zoolander on Education").
  • MTV CRIBS (1:33) - Three of CRIBS' "special visits with Derek Zoolander."
  • Interstitials (2:49) - Six fake interviews promoting the movie ("Ben Stiller/Derek Zoolander Interview No. 1," "Ben Stiller/Derek Zoolander Interview No. 2," "Ben Stiller/Derek Zoolander Interview No. 3," "Matilda," "Mugatu" and "Derek Messes Up").
  • Photo Galleries - Three galleries ("Derek's Portfolio," "Hansel's Portfolio" and "Zoolander Production Stills"), totaling 38 photos in total.

Zoolander is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of February 2nd, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 29 Mins.

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